Picture this; it’s a hot sunny day, and you take out a portable solar panel and set it up next to your RV with no installation required. After a few hours, your solar power station or RV battery has completely recharged and you can run electrical appliances in your RV without spending an extra coin.
Who wouldn’t want that, right? But first, you have to find the best portable solar panels for RV that your money can buy. That’s what we are here for. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know and your best options.
- The Best Portable Solar Panels for RVs Reviewed
- Find the Right Best Portable Solar Panel for RV
- ALLPOWERS 200W Portable Solar Panel
- ECO-WORTHY Foldable Solar Panel
- Renogy 12V Monocrystalline Portable Solar Panel
- DOKIO 110w Portable Foldable Solar Panel Kit
- Jackery SolarSaga Portable Solar Panel
- Go Power 130W Portable Folding Solar Kit
- Topsolar 120W Foldable Portable Solar Panel
- TWELSEAVAN Portable Solar Panel
- Best Portable Solar Panel for RV Buying Guide
- Types of Portable Solar Panels for RV
- What To Look for in The Best Portable Solar Panel for RV
- FAQs for Best RV Portable Solar Panels
The Best Portable Solar Panels for RVs Reviewed
|Product's Name||Type||Power Output||Solar Efficiency||Weight||More Info|
|Highest power output |
ALLPOWERS 200W Portable Solar Panel 18V Foldable Solar Panel Kit with MC-4...
|Polycrystalline||200W||22%||13.9 lbs||See Latest Price|
|No products found.||Best for power efficiency|
No products found.
|Monocrystalline||120W||25%||9 lbs||No products found.|
|Best premium option |
Renogy 200 Watt 12 Volt Portable Solar Panel with Waterproof 20A Charger...
|Monocrystalline||200W||21%||39 lbs||See Latest Price|
|Best bang for the buck |
DOKIO 110w 18v Portable Foldable Solar Panel Kit (21x28inch, 5.9lb) Solar...
|Monocrystalline||110W||23%||5.9 lbs||See Latest Price|
|Best lightweight |
Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel for Explorer...
|Monocrystalline||100W||23%||5.5 lbs||See Latest Price|
|Most durable option |
Go Power! GP-PSK-130 130W Portable Folding Solar Kit with 10 Amp Solar...
|Monocrystalline||130W||23%||28 lbs||See Latest Price|
|Best for compatibility|
Topsolar 100W Foldable Portable Solar Panel Charger Kits for Portable Power...
|Monocrystalline||120W||23%||14.8 lbs||See Latest Price|
|Best foldable option |
TWELSEAVAN Portable Solar Panel for Power Station, 120W Foldable Solar...
|Monocrystalline||120W||23%||9.5 lbs||See Latest Price|
Find the Right Best Portable Solar Panel for RV
This is a made in U.S.A portable polycrystalline solar panel with 22 percent efficiency. It weighs about 13.9 pounds and you can mount it on the ground. Of course, since it’s a foldable solar panel, it won’t take a lot of room in your RV and it’s possible to fit it in a traveling bag.
What’s more, it has a peak power of 200W which is more than enough to power your radio, laptop, LED lights, and ceiling fans. Talking about the installation, it shouldn’t be a problem since the kit comes with everything you need including an adjustable bracket, adapter, connection cables, and instruction manual.
However, this solar panel kit doesn’t come with a charge controller, but you can purchase it separately.
No products found.
Here is something cool; this Eco-worthy solar panel weighs 9 pounds and it can be folded like a suitcase. Better yet, you can mount it on a kickstand with a cable that can extend up to 3 meters away from your RV. If you mount it at the right angle, you can capture up to 25 percent of the solar energy.
Its rated power output is 120W under ideal conditions with a temperature of 77°F and an irradiance of AM1.5. In fact, if there is consistent sunlight and you connect it to a solar generator, you can harvest up to 500w after 4 hours.
But if you want to connect it to your RV battery, the kit comes with a charge controller that prevents short circuits or overcharge. Besides that, you can charge your phone or laptop using the charge controller.
Here is the kicker; the solar panel doesn’t have a protective film. That means it can be easily damaged.
This monocrystalline solar panel is made from pure silicone and because of that, it’s more efficient and longer-lasting than other types of panels. The kit features two foldable panels with a combined power output of 200W. To add the cherry on top, it’s sold with a protective suitcase for easy portability; it can shrink to a length of about 25 inches when closed.
Of course, it doesn’t need to be installed on your RV roof since you can use the aluminum stand to position it on the ground. If you want the complete setup, it features a 20 Amp waterproof charge controller to protect your RV battery. It’s also designed for expansion just in case you want to add more panels.
On the downside, some people may find this solar panel a little bit heavy. Then again, the extra weight is to make sure it doesn’t get easily carried away by the wind
This is one of the most affordable portable solar panel kits on the market. Despite its low budget price, the solar cells are made of pure silicone material with an efficiency of 23 percent. To put it into perspective, solar cells can still convert solar energy into electricity when it’s cloudy with minimum sunlight.
But that’s not all; this solar panel is sold with a complete kit that includes a PWM charge controller, carrying bag, and connection cables. Even more impressive, it weighs only 6 pounds with a power rating of 110W at 18 volts.
Even though this solar panel is waterproof, it’s not designed to be left outside in extremely bad weather.
If you’re looking for a solar panel with USB outlets to charge your phone or tablets directly, you should consider the Jackery SolarSaga 100W Portable Solar Panel. Better yet, the solar panel is compatible with the Jackery Explorer power station; you could get it charged to 80 percent within 7 hours.
With a weight of 5.5 pounds, it’s probably lighter than your laptop yet it has a conversion rate of up to 23 percent efficiency. This is because it’s designed with monocrystalline silicon cells that capture solar energy with more efficiency than thin-film or polycrystalline solar cells. It’s also worth mentioning that this solar panel has an operating temperature of between 14°F. to 149 °F.
However, this solar panel is not completely waterproof and you shouldn’t put it outside when it’s raining.
This monocrystalline portable solar panel for your RV comes with a warranty of 25 years. It gets even better; this unit comes with an in-built 10-ampere charge controller so you don’t overcharge your RV battery. Of course, it also includes 12 feet long cable with standard XLR-style and SAE adapters, connectors, and battery clamps; this means it’s convenient for different connection methods.
For what it’s worth, it looks like a suitcase but you can easily unfold it to set it up in less than 1 minute. Unlike most portable solar panels, the frame and stands are reinforced with a rust-resistant aluminum frame. We also like that the panels are waterproof, although the solar controller could get affected by rain.
If you’re wondering about the power rating, it can deliver up to 130 watts with a current of 6.9 amps on a good sunny day. In comparison, this solar panel kit has one of the highest-rated currents on our guide.
We couldn’t help but notice that it’s heavier than most portable solar panels. It could be a deal-breaker but most people could compromise that for durability.
What makes this one of the best portable solar panels in the market is that it’s compatible with most solar generators made by different brands. Besides that, the kit includes 8 different cables to accommodate your preferred connection.
If that doesn’t convince you, it features USB outlets with a type C port available to charge your smartphones, cameras, drones, and laptops directly. The secret? It comes with an in-built charge controller with a smart IC chip that customizes the charging speed depending on your device.
Another cool surprise is that the solar panels are coated with ETFE plastic. To break it down for you, the solar panels are not likely to have a malfunction if it rains; the junction box is not waterproof but you can cover it up.
It ticks all the quality boxes, except that the cables are too thin. If you’re not careful, you could damage the wires.
This solar panel is about 20.5 inches when enclosed, but you can stretch it out to a length of about 64 inches. It weighs 9.5 pounds, but it converts solar energy with an efficiency of up to 23 percent. Under ideal conditions, it should achieve 120 watts of power per hour.
Here is where it gets interesting; you can connect your smart device directly on the panel and supercharge it. Don’t forget you can also use it to charge your RV battery or solar generator in a few hours.
The manufacturer is so confident about its durability that you have the option to resend it back within 90 days if you’re not satisfied with the product. But if you’re satisfied, you get up to 24 months warranty.
On the flip side, this solar panel is not compatible with Jackery Explorer and Goal zero yeti power stations.
Best Portable Solar Panel for RV Buying Guide
Types of Portable Solar Panels for RV
The solar cells used to manufacture monocrystalline panels are made from pure silicon; this is why they appear black when exposed to sunlight. Even though they can be rigid, a monocrystalline panel that is made to be flexible for RVs is usually sandwiched by an ultra-thin plastic layer.
Besides that, monocrystalline panels are more durable with a higher power output compared to other variants of solar panels. However, they’re often more expensive than polycrystalline and thin-film solar panels.
Polycrystalline solar cells are made using silicon fragments. Unlike monocrystalline panels, polycrystalline solar panels appear blue when exposed to sunlight. Of course, flexible polycrystalline solar panels for RVs are covered by a thin protective layer that is easily bendable.
Since polycrystalline solar cells are not molded from pure silicone, they’re less efficient with a shorter lifespan compared to monocrystalline panels. Nevertheless, they’re cheaper than monocrystalline panels.
Thin-film solar panels
These types of solar panels are often made using non-crystalline silicone materials such as cadmium telluride and copper indium gallium selenide. However, some types of thin-film solar panels are made using amorphous silicon.
The photovoltaic materials used to harness solar energy are sandwiched in between thin sheets of glass, plastic, or aluminum. Because of that, thin-film solar panels are ultra-lightweight and more flexible than polycrystalline and monocrystalline.
Thin-film solar panels are usually blue or black; although it depends on photovoltaic materials. Unfortunately, you have to compromise efficiency for flexibility; thin-film solar panels require more space to produce the same power output you would expect from monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels of the same size.
What To Look for in The Best Portable Solar Panel for RV
A portable solar panel is easy to fix and you don’t need to mount it on the roof of your RV.
Before you purchase portable solar panels for your RV, you need to ask yourself; how much power do I need? If you want a portable solar panel to recharge your RV battery, anything from 50W to 100W could get the job done.
However, if you also want enough power to run your wall outlets and RV appliances like laptops, television, LED lights, and ceiling fans, we recommend portable solar panels with a power output of at least 200 to 300 watts.
Since most single solar panels for RVs have an average power output of 100 watts, you can combine two or three panels to increase the wattage.
Solar panel efficiency refers to how much of the solar energy is converted into electricity. In other words, the higher the solar panel efficiency, the faster your solar cells will convert solar energy into electricity.
The best portable solar panels for RVs have an efficiency rating of between 15 to 25 percent. If you live in a place where it’s often cloudy, we recommend monocrystalline solar panels with the highest efficiency rating you can find. But if you have more than enough sunlight where you camp, efficiency shouldn’t be much of a concern and you can choose thin-film or polycrystalline solar panels.
Solar Charge Controller
The best portable solar panels are sold with a charge controller to regulate the voltage from the panels to the battery. Keep in mind that if you don’t have a solar charge controller, you could damage your battery. However, some solar panels for RVs are designed with an in-built charge controller; but make sure you confirm on the user’s manual.
If you want a parallel connection with consistent voltage to recharge your RV batteries, a PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) charge controller would be suitable. However, MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) solar charge controllers deliver at least 30 percent more efficiency than PWM charge controllers.
So which one is better? It depends! Most portable solar panels for RVs come with PWM charge controllers because they’re affordable and more practical on a small scale. But if you want to camp off-grid for about a week with multiple panels, MPPT solar charge controllers would be ideal; although they’re more expensive.
Size and Weight
The last thing you want is a solar panel to damage your RV because it’s too heavy. Of course, the best portable solar panels for RVs should be lightweight and compact for easy installation. For that reason, we recommend portable solar panels that weigh between 5 to 30 pounds.
Here is the thing; the most durable solar panels often have the longest warranty offer. Another way to predict durability is to identify the type of protective layer that covers the solar cells. More succinctly, portable solar panels with ETFE plastic covers are more durable than PET-coated panels.
However, nothing beats flexible solar panels with aluminum metal frames and willow glass protective layers when it comes to durability.
Mounting Kit Options
If you want an easy installation, you should choose portable solar panels that are sold with mounting brackets, adapters, adhesive tapes, connectors, extension cables, and an instruction manual. In fact, some portable solar panels for RVs are made with pre-drilled holes for easier installation.
FAQs for Best RV Portable Solar Panels
Q. What type of batteries should I use with portable solar panels for my RV?
Most portable solar panels for RVs can be connected to 12V or 24V batteries in your RV. Nevertheless, make sure the voltage and amp-hour ratings of your RV battery are compatible with the portable solar panels you want to purchase.
Q. Are portable solar panels affordable?
Most portable solar panels will cost you between $200 to $1,000 per unit. On the bright side, portable solar panels will save you money since you don’t need to buy fuel. Not to mention, most portable solar panels for RVs can last about 20 years before you need a replacement.
Q. How many solar panels do I need?
It depends on how much power you consume. If you just want to supplement your battery charge, a single panel could be enough. However, if you want sufficient power to run most electrical appliances in your RV on a daily basis, you may need more than one unit.
Q. What are some of the things I need to complete my solar panel set up?
If you want to complete your solar panel set up, you will need a compatible battery, solar charge controller, transfer switch, and an inverter. It’s also possible to connect your portable solar panel to a solar generator and forego the battery and charge controller.
If we had to choose the overall best solar panel for RV, we would pick the Go Power 130W Portable Folding Solar Kit; no question about that! This is because it’s waterproof, portable, and durable with the longest warranty on our guide.
However, all the other solar panels we’ve reviewed are excellent options if you’re looking for something portable that doesn’t need to be installed.